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Reading order of The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

  1. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
  3. Life, the Universe and Everything
  4. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
  5. Mostly Harmless

The novels are described as “a trilogy in five parts”, having been described as a trilogy on the release of the third book, and then a “trilogy in four parts” on the release of the fourth book. The US edition of the fifth book was originally released with the legend “The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Trilogy” on the cover. Subsequent re-releases of the other novels bore the legend “The [first, second, third, fourth] in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s trilogy”. In addition, the blurb on the fifth book humorously describes the book as “the book that gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘trilogy'”.
The plots of the television and radio series are more or less the same as that of the first two novels, though some of the events occur in a different order and many of the details are changed. Much of parts five and six of the radio series were written by John Lloyd, but his material did not make it into the other versions of the story and is not included here. Some consider the books’ version of events to be definitive, because they are the most readily accessible and widely distributed version of the story. However, they are not the final version that Adams produced.
Before his death from a heart attack at age 49 in 2001, Adams was considering writing a sixth novel in the Hitchhiker’s series. He was working on a third Dirk Gently novel under the working title, The Salmon of Doubt, but felt that the book was not working and abandoned it. In an interview, he said some of the ideas in the book might fit better in the Hitchhiker’s series, and suggested he might rework those ideas into a sixth book in that series. He described Mostly Harmless as “a very bleak book” and said he “would love to finish Hitchhiker on a slightly more upbeat note”. Adams also remarked that if he were to write a sixth instalment, he would at least start with all the characters in the same place.[13] Eoin Colfer, who wrote the sixth book in the Hitchhiker’s series in 2008–09, used this latter concept but apparently none of the plot ideas from The Salmon of Doubt.

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